The post that started it all #1 | To the mayoral hopefuls from the NYC Democratic Party : Your shenanigans are hurting New York
I published this diary at DailyKos on May 2nd.
This came out of my frustration with, especially, Fernando Ferrer's Amadou Diallo fiasco. I will be posting about not just Ferrer, but the inability of politicians to articulate their opinions for the sake of politics. For now, this is one of two articles I am reposting for the site's historical records.
The race for the Democratic nomination for NYC Mayor is a mess. I am thisclose of just throwing the towel and endorsing Bloomberg.
Monday's editorial cartoon at the Daily News best encapsulates it perfectly: The unrecognizable faces Freddy Ferrer, Virginia Fields, Anthony Weiner and Gifford Miller appear on the sides of milk cartons with the headers "Missing", ""Have you seen me?", "Have you heard of me", and "Who cares?", respectively.
Call them the faulty foursome : They're bumbling, they're quarreling, they have no message and no real appeal. In other words, Democrats, we're losing New York City again to the Republicans for a total of 12 years in a row.
These Democrats need to get their act together and fast! There's two there that should get out of the way of the real contenders. Their presence is nothing but wedge politics. If they were really committed to getting Democrats back into power they'd remove themselves this instant. There's only two contenders in that bunch --and no, I'm leaving it up to you to guess who I am talking about
So here's a memo to the Democratic hopefuls for mayor : Get your act together, now!
As a Puerto Rican blatinamericana, self-employed homeschooling mother of two these are the three main issues I want to all the candidates for mayor of New York City to address :
1. This household needs medical insurance. $1000 a month for my family is unacceptable when, as two self-employed web development professionals, we can barely pay the rent and sock away the 40% NYC, NY State and the IRS eat away yearly from our household income. We need help with medical insurance and we need it now.
We do not own a "weekend" home. We do not own a car. I am still paying off student loans. And with our high tech work, we are barely making it. How can you even start to address poverty in NYC when you wont address how "the barely making it" middle class is hurting?
Yes, we are two adults, one preschooler and one schooler and, yes, we come close to the $78K a year of the study says is the bare minimum for a family of four to be self-sufficient in the "south" of Manhattan. And you know what. Because we are self-employed, and pay up the wazoo in taxes (maybe more than Donal Trump percentage-wise) we can't afford medical insurance. The Self-Sufficiency Standard for the City of New York study fits my husband and myself to the tee.
Fellow Democrats as long as my husband and I cannot afford medical insurance, people like us will never be self-sufficient. It just takes one ailment, one injury, to ruin financially a family in our position.
Stop pandering to the unions and start paying more attention to the independent workers, self-employed, temps and consultants that litter this city. We go to the polls, we are voters too. You need to talk to use, blog to us, on a daily basis.
2. I want a mayor that will fight to make it easier for parents to parent and to be 100% involved in their children's education.
I am the freak in the playground that homeschools her kids. So I am a magnate for education queries, comments, rants and cries of woe. I cannot tell you how many friends and neighbors say "I'd homeschool if it were easier for me to ..." and what usually follows is a littany of complaints that have little to do with their ability to raise and educate their own children and all to do with lack of community support structures.
Where are the community centers in NYC? Where are the indoor commons that would make meeting other homeschoolers easier during the harsh winter months? Where are our free or discounted homeschooler metrocards?
For all parents raising kids in the city, where's our tax break for education related expenses? The joke of public school education here in NYC is that they have the cheapest tuition in town. Tuition at a secular private school in New York City costs $15,000 per kid annually, on average. So it is with no qualms that the better public schools unleash the PTAs to do the dirty work for them and demand from incoming families for annual contributions that run as much $500 per child --and that is outside of the often imposed fundraising scattered throughout the school year.
Here are people paying some of the highest city and state taxes in the nation and we still have to fork over after-tax money for public education? And that is not counting the compulsory education requirements like Physical Education and Secondary languages the schools have pushed to after-school programs to force parents into funding them.
Homeschoolers get a double whammy. Even though by law homeschooling is supposed to be a private education choice, the state has made it onerous beyond belief for homeschooling parents, forcing us to fill out a sea of paperwork and to follow regulations that are applied to public school students but not to those who go private school. Homeschoolers get all the hassles of public schools, all the expenses of private school and at a greater cost because there are no secular, independent learning centers in New York City. If there were, believe me, the crunch for public & private schools in NYC would be cured in a heart beat.
Which takes me to a topic near and dear my heart : When, oh when, is there going to be serious talk about part-time public education in NYC? Maine has it, Alaska has it. Even California, with its independent study centers has it. When are we really going to sit down and talk about all the progressive alternatives already in place in other states that would greatly help parents best use resources the blood, sweat and tears of their taxes already buys for public education? When are we really going to deal with actual education reform in this city and look at part-time education as a workable alternative to our education crisis?
3. I want a pledge to bring back citizenship to the NYC political landscape. I want more people like me in the process and less professional politicos --whether they are called "civil rights leaders", "borough presidents", "lobbyists" or "union leaders".
I want a mayor that responds directly to constituents and not to special interests, not to political consultants, not to big donors. I want someone who will think outside of the box and instead of wasting billions of dollars in a stadium that will not bring me any tax relief, health insurance relief or better education options in the city, I want to see the new mayor really build a communications network across the city; to better connect neighbors within their communities and find immediate solutions for each and every city block; each and every outer borough neighborhood.
For that matter, I want to see technology being tapped and used for building better networks across neighborhoods in NYC. I want to see free WiFi, I want an open source 311 --so creative alternatives to community networking can be developed and implemented.
You may think of us as household of extremists : We are self-employed. We educate our children ourselves. But if y'all came and hung out with us for a couple of days, you'd see that we actually represent your real-life "white collar" workers who make up the bulk of voters in New York City.
We work hard. We care for our children. We know our neighbors young and old. My husband follows politics on the sidelines. I'm all about political action. We cover a lot of the political bases here. He's white. I'm mulata. Our kids are somewhere in between. We cover quite a few demographics here.
So I hope these Democratic mayoral hopefuls get their act together. I'm thisclose to endorsing Bloomberg and if I'm thinking about it, believe me there's a lot of people in our neighborhood and our work, education and social networks who are thinking exactly the same.
So what would you like these four candidates talk about?